304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
A first-of-its-kind database to track world fossil fuel production, inventories and emissions was launched on Monday to coincide with climate talks being held at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The Global Fossil Fuel Register includes data from more than 50,000 oil, gas and coal deposits in 89 countries. This covers 75% of global stocks, production and emissions and is available for public use, the first for a collection of this size.
Until now, private data has been available to purchase and analyze the world’s fossil fuel use and stocks. The International Energy Agency also maintains public data on oil, gas and coal, but focuses on demand for those fossil fuels, while this new database looks at what has yet to be burned. The registry was developed by Carbon Tracker, a non-profit think tank that examines the impact of the energy transition on financial markets, and Global Energy Monitor, an organization that tracks various energy projects around the world.
Corporations, investors and scientists already have some level of access to private fossil fuel data. Mark Campanale, founder of Carbon Tracker, said he hoped the registry would enable groups to hold governments accountable, for example when they issue fossil fuel mining licenses. Civil society groups need to focus more on what governments are planning. to do in terms of licensing, both coal and oil and gas, and really start to challenge that permitting process,” Campanale told The Associated Press.
The release of the database and accompanying analysis of the collected data coincides with two critical sets of climate negotiations at the international level – the UN General Assembly in New York, which begins on September 13, and COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, in November. Data like what’s published in the registry could arm environmental and climate groups to pressure national leaders to agree to stronger policies that will lead to lower carbon emissions.
And we desperately need carbon reduction, Campanale said. In their analysis of the data, the developers found that the United States and Russia have enough unused fossil fuel underground to exhaust the world’s remaining carbon budget. That’s the remaining carbon the world can afford to emit before a certain amount of warming occurs, in this case 1.5 degrees Celsius. It also shows that these reserves would generate 3.5 trillion tons of greenhouse gas emissions, more than all the emissions produced since the Industrial Revolution.
“We already have enough extractable fossil fuels to cook the planet. We can’t afford to use all of them – or almost none of them at this point. We’ve run out of time to build new things in old ways,” said Rob Jackson, a climate scientist at Stanford University who was not involved in the database. projects. That’s a unique aspect of the job.” Jackson compared the global carbon budget to a bathtub. “You can only run water until the tub overflows,” he said.
When the tub is about to overflow, he said, governments can turn off the faucet (reducing greenhouse gas emissions) or open the tub’s drain more (removing carbon from the atmosphere). The database shows that we have far more carbon than we need. global community, Campanale said, and more than enough to overflow the bathtub and flood the bathroom in Jackson’s analogy. So investors and shareholders should hold decision-makers at the world’s biggest oil, gas and coal companies accountable when they approve new investments in fossil fuel mining, he said.
Campanale said the hope is the investment community “that ultimately owns these corporations” will use the data to start questioning the investment plans of companies still planning to expand oil, gas and coal projects. “Companies like Shell and Exxon, Chevron and their shareholders can use analytics to really start to try and push companies to go in a completely different direction.”